New Congress will be Sen. Alexander's last

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- After decades of public service, the new, two-year Congressional session that begins Wednesday will be Sen. Lamar Alexander’s last.

With his announcement that he won't seek re-election, January 2021 will mark the end of the Tennessee Republican's long public service career. Before beginning his first stint in the senate in 2003, Alexander spent eight years as governor, three as president of the University of Tennessee, two years as the country’s education secretary, and mounted two presidential campaigns.

Alexander said making his retirement announcement now – will make his final two years more productive. "I wanted to clear the air and get rid of the political distractions so that I can focus on reducing health care costs and making sure that a college education is worth it," Alexander said.

Alexander said focusing on health care costs – rather than insurance – could allow lawmakers to get beyond partisan bickering. On the education front, he wants to make applying for financial aid easier and cut bureaucratic red tape for schools.

New lawmakers – including Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) – will be sworn in Thursday.

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